Caribou, Toro Y Moi
(Neumos) See preview.
(Vera) See preview.
Black Stax, LaRue, DJ Gumbeaux
(Nectar) Black Stax is the meeting point for three talented and highly regarded local artists—Silas Blak and Jace ECAj of Silent Lambs Project, and Felicia Loud. Black Stax is not only the meeting point of three veterans, but also the point at which the tradition of progressive masculine hiphop (GZA, Tragedy Khadafi, Guru) meets the tradition of progressive feminine neo-soul (Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Georgia Anne Muldrow). The trio's new album, Talking Buildings, emerges from the interaction of these progressive positions. Containing beats fashioned by an impressive roster of new and established local producers, the tunes on the album range along a spectrum from soul ("I Love My Life") to soul/hiphop ("Ming") to gothic hiphop ("Marbles"). Talking Buildings makes it very clear that the veterans cannot be so easily dismissed—'93 until infinity. CHARLES MUDEDE See also My Philosophy, page 41.
Henry Rollins: The Frequent Flyer Tour
(Moore) Why listen to Henry Rollins speak for two hours? What makes this dude so interesting? Well, aside from being known as "that guy" from many Hollywood cameos, he's fronted one of the most influential punk bands of all time, written a handful of books, and hosted a radio show, podcast, and television talk show. Yet he's never quite made that leap to household name. Since the late '80s, Rollins has built a reputation as a captivating speaker by drawing heavily on his own life experiences and touring the world speaking in front of hundreds at a time. Whether he's sharing anecdotes about failed relationships or ranting about the right's latest political blunders, you expect Rollins to be at a constant 9.9 on the intensity scale. If he's not the hardest-working man in Hollywood, he sure is the most pissed. KEVIN DIERS
Julia Massey & the Five-Finger Discount, the Jesus Rehab, Three Ninjas
(ToST) Three Ninjas came to my attention through one of the ballsiest e-mails a musician's ever sent my way. "You need to write about me," Three Ninjas demanded. "I'd go so far as to say I can save the world with music." The missive prompted me to post something about the cat on Line Out with the headline "Today in Delusions of Grandeur." You can dispute Three Ninjas' claims, but he did get me to write about him. Here's yet more ink: Three Ninjas' new CD, Smarter Than a Lettuce, is a sporadically interesting and stylistically varied nerd-rap opus that wears its heart on its tattered sleeve. If you can imagine Lou Barlow circa early Sebadoh rapping over Prince Paul outtakes from MC Paul Barman's It's Very Stimulating (how about rhyming "libido" with "Dan DeVito"?), you're getting close to the appeal of Three Ninjas' pugnaciously brash underdog persona. DAVE SEGAL
Slough Feg, the Gates of Slumber, ((Audiwasska Travelers))
(Comet) Slough Feg play trad hard rock with serious conviction. The San Francisco band scatters rococo guitar filigree over crunching foundation riffs and shunts Michael Scalzi's gruff, declamatory vocals way to the fore. Punk—and everything in its wake—seemingly never happened for Slough Feg. Indianapolis's the Gates of Slumber similarly rock hard with a linear sense of purpose, their shouted, massed vocals and tightly wound, burly metallic guitars whipping your head back with brass-knuckled force. ((Audiwasska Travelers)) stand as one of the city's heaviest psych-rock units. Inspired by mad-genius cavemen rockers like MC5 and Blue Cheer, as well as their Japanese acolytes like Mainliner and Musica Transonic, these local whirlwind harnessers seek to blow your mind and grind your bones at the same time. DAVE SEGAL
Wah Wah Exit Wound, Evangelist
(Rendezvous) Seattle trio Wah Wah Exit Wound flaunt a PhD-level aptitude for math rock that never takes the easy, direct route from alpha to omega. While this kind of music can be extraordinarily geeky, WWEW combine the sort of labyrinthine song structures that could fog up Robert Fripp's glasses with an attack that's simultaneously brutal, fleet, and nimble enough to prompt metalheads to throw devil horns. Wah Wah Exit Wound are supporting a new album, Vibrational Osmosis, that broods, zooms, twirls, and rumbles like a cross between prog maestros King Crimson and Yes and flowery, fusionoid space cadets Return to Forever. It's a hugely ambitious record, with perhaps the most flamboyant exhibition of roto-tom pounding this side of Neil Peart. DAVE SEGAL
Sasquatch!: My Morning Jacket, Vampire Weekend, the National, Broken Social Scene, Deadmau5, others
(Gorge) See preview.
Reflection Eternal, U-N-I, Mad Rad
(Showbox at the Market) Reflection Eternal are Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek. A lot is known about Talib Kweli, who released the underground classic Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star with Mos Def and also achieved a bona fide chart hit with the Kanye West–produced "Get By." Less is know about Hi-Tek, who, like Kweli, paid his dues in Cincinnati. At one point in the late '90s, Hi-Tek was easily rated along with Dilla as the next big thing, a producer of the future. This proved to be true for Dilla, but not so for Hi-Tek, which is very surprising because "Respiration," a track he produced for Black Star and Common, is in the same groundbreaking category with Just Blaze's "Breathe" and Dilla's "Heat." What is it that Hi-Tek brought to the art of beat production? A very muscular imagination. His work is bold and built with a sense of bigness. CHARLES MUDEDE See also My Philosophy, page 41.
Damien Jurado, Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground
(Triple Door) On "Arkansas," off of Damien Jurado's gorgeously produced new album, Saint Bartlett, he sings, "Fade out/This is where the credits roll," followed by what sounds like it could be either "amen" or just "awww, man." That ambivalence neatly captures where the veteran Seattle singer/songwriter is coming from—a peripheral presence in Seattle's quietly Christian indie-rock scene (with ties to Jeremy Enigk, Dave Bazan, Rosie Thomas, Jeff Suffering, and others), Jurado writes songs that are far more often about worry than worship. On Saint Bartlett, recorded with Secretly Canadian labelmate Richard Swift, Jurado pins his somber stories and low, wind-howling voice to some of his most affecting arrangements yet, from the vintage, reverb-soaked studio sound of "Cloudy Shoes" and "Throwing Your Voice"—hand-clap echoes, "Be My Baby" drums, swooning strings, bright pianos—to sparer acoustic-guitar numbers spiked with staticky found sounds. ERIC GRANDY
Future Islands, Lower Dens, the Long Mornings
(Sunset, 6 pm) Baltimore trio Future Islands exude that Wham City exuberance and geeky danceability you may know from exposure to Dan Deacon's recorded output and live performances. In Evening Air, Future Islands' new Thrill Jockey album, isn't as over-the-top as Mr. Deacon's celestial, electro-pop effusions, but it does trowel on more neo-new-wave drama than most in the field. Samuel T. Herring's vocals tend toward the overwrought (think Springsteen crossed with Tom Waits—or even Comus's Roger Wootton), but maybe that's because they often have to struggle to be heard over William Cashion's girthful bass and J. Gerrit Welmers's blustery, panoramic synths. Future Islands are best when Herring tones it down to a Bowie-esque Sprechstimme and the band evokes New Order's grim euphoria. More sometimes is less. DAVE SEGAL
Sasquatch!: Massive Attack, Pavement, LCD Soundsystem, Public Enemy, Dirty Projectors, others
(Gorge) See preview.
Kero One, the Art of Movement, MYK, Dumbfoundead, Dok2
(Showbox at the Market) Dumbfoundead, a representative of L.A.'s legendary Project Blowed collective and a rarely outclassed battle rapper, does with his music what a lot of hiphop artists lose sight of doing: He has fun. His 2009 album Fun with Dumb is a collection of tracks that also see him stay focused and on topic (something else rappers tend to forget about) without a hint of difficulty. You get the feeling Dumb was the kid smoking weed and rapping behind the high school during lunch; he's got class-clown wit, a sharp tongue, and the style and skill to back up the shit he talks. Combine that with a tireless work ethic—it hasn't been a year since his debut dropped and he already has a collaborative LP and another solo record in the hopper—and you've got yet another L.A. underground cat more than worth checking out. KALEB GUBERNICK
Sasquatch!: Ween, MGMT, Band of Horses, No Age, She & Him, others
(Gorge) See preview.
(Comet) For their self-titled debut EP, NYC quartet Suckers enlisted Yeasayer's Anand Wilder to produce, a sensible choice, given the band's shared fondness for quasi-tribal percussion and multipart vocal harmonies. "Easy Chairs" escalates from strutting bass, hand claps, and a pied-piper flute to a closing chorus of "Set our easy chairs aflame" chanted over low piano chords and acrobatic falsetto backing vocals. "It Gets Your Body Moving" is a counterintuitively slow-swaying choral-and-whistling number that takes four minutes to build to a crescendo worthy not so much of body moving as maybe just raising a beer. "Beach Queen" achieves a kind of sub–Hall & Oates yacht-rock breeze with a not entirely unlikable groove. Also like Yeasayer, Suckers strike a strange balance between mildly psychedelic wildness and stately, smartly arranged chops—but they can come off kind of glee clubbish, when you get the feeling they're going for ecstatic. ERIC GRANDY
Rad Snafu, Pearly Gate Music
(Crocodile) The Sasquatch! festival is upon us, which means it's that time of year when you see band names you've never heard of atop bills at venues like the Crocodile. Why does this happen? Because sometimes bands that are in town to play Sasquatch! make the most of their trip by booking other shows around the Pacific Northwest—but because Sasquatch! has a blackout period (meaning if you play the festival, you can't play another nearby show for a certain amount of time before and after), those rule breakers have to be clever with the way they bill themselves. So let's see here... Rad Snafu. Whoever could that be? Afar Duns? Fad Ran Us? Sad An Fur? Or maybe sparkly indie-rock trio NADA SURF? You didn't hear it from me. MEGAN SELING
Sage Francis, Free Moral Agents, B. Dolan
(Showbox at the Market) Sage Francis seems to be coming down with a bad case of bored-rapper syndrome. He's never been a conventional MC, but "Best of Times" from Francis's newest record, LI(F)E, finds him dabbling with spoken word and an overly lush, twee score—a score produced by French composer Yann Tiersen, probably best known for his work on the Amelie soundtrack, with help from Brian Deck, who has done production work with Iron and Wine and Modest Mouse. I hesitate to call the first four minutes of it hiphop, because it lacks that basic heartbeat: drums. LL wasn't kidding when he said, "I need a beat." Sage still has it; I'm just wondering if this is the start of his descent. KALEB GUBERNICK
Screaming Females; Touch Me, Satan; Mutiny, Mutiny
(Funhouse) New Jersey trio Screaming Females have only one female, singer/guitarist Marissa Paternoster, and her vocal style is as often a kind of an exaggerated, declarative sotto voce as it is an overdriven scream. But even when her singing is dialed down, the band makes a mighty racket, bashing out fuzz-fucked, triumphalist rock with flailing guitar solos. The robust rhythm section of bassist King Mike and drummer Jarrett Dougherty keeps lively time but mostly stays out of the way of Paternoster's hot-wired, steamrolling playing. It's not all screaming and shredding either, as evidenced by the band's chugging cover of Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer" or the original "I Do"; the latter is a ridiculously poppy midtempo number whose bright melodies and vocal hook emerge from a smother of distortion, worthy of scoring a mid-'90s TV montage, say, something from The Adventures of Pete & Pete. ERIC GRANDY
ISIS, Jakob, Tombs
(Neumos) Over their 13-year career, ISIS have trodden the line between contemplative melancholy and turbulent ferocity. On early albums, such as the turn-of-the-millennium Celestial, this juxtaposition presented itself in a basic but effective dynamic of quiet restraint versus full-volume pummeling. Later records found the quintet crafting increasingly patient, nuanced, and complex work that gracefully built toward towering thunderous crescendos. The band kicked off this latest tour with the announcement that this batch of shows will be their last, so don't miss this chance to witness these brooding and hypnotic epics unfold onstage. New Zealand–based tourmates Jakob excel at creating haunting ether punctuated by slabs of bottom-heavy psychedelia, making this run of shows a fitting passing of the dark-art torch. BRIAN COOK
Buzzcocks, the Dollyrots, Images
(El Corazón) See Stranger Suggests.
Maxwell, Jill Scott
(KeyArena) Last year at the Paramount Theatre, Maxwell more than made up to his core audience whatever infractions they imagined he'd committed against them by not releasing an album in eight years. He played the showman, he romanced the crowd utterly, and at the end, he brought out his entire band and handed each member the mic in turn, so they could introduce themselves. It was one of the most heartening things I've ever seen on a stage: It became a family gathering. Jill Scott incites a similar kind of familiar fervor in basically the same set of fans; this is an inspired R&B bill, albeit on the pricey side. MICHAELANGELO MATOS
Japanther, Jaguar Love
(Comet) Japanther's new album, Rock 'n' Roll Ice Cream, is a modest but pleasing return to form following the prolific Brooklyn bass-and-drums duo's severely uneven 2008 album Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt (fans of Penny Rimbaud's poetry will find no spoken-word pieces here). It's just under a half hour of fuzzed-up pop punk, accented with shorted Casio keys and tape-collage high jinks, all as sweet and nostalgic and juvenile as the title suggests—ice cream as fleeting/bygone summers, rock 'n' roll like Rock 'n' Roll High School (check the backing vocals on "Spread So Thin"). Tonight's show is part of Japanther and Jaguar Love's "coin flip tour," in which the two mismatched crews (both feline, I guess?) toss a coin each night to determine who headlines and who opens. It'd be more fun if the flip side of the coin weren't so shrill. ERIC GRANDY
Sound vs Silence Compilation Release: Satchel, With Friends Like These, Slender Means, Super Sonic Soul Pimps, Michael Vermillion, Virgin, Tomo and Kevin of Grand Hallway
(Neumos) Sound vs Silence is an anticorporate record label. Self-started in Salt Lake City around 2003, it has amassed a steady expanse of artists and distribution since—impressive in this day and age of decline for the mid- to smaller-range label. Now primarily Seattle-based, Sound vs Silence is celebrating the release of a 16-track compilation called Vol. 2. It's a sturdy, smart, wide-ranging swath of artists from these here parts: CMYK, Grynch, Thee Emergency, Grand Hallway, Widower, Water Fae, as well as the bands on tonight's bill. Because of the exclusive, unreleased, non-album tracks from Satchel and Shawn Smith, the comp will see some major European distribution. Respect for a self-starting label getting some big hits overseas. Side note: Shawn will have his talisman chicken claw at the show for your touching. And there may be super-secret super guests. TRENT MOORMAN